Members of the South Shore Drill Team, a highlight of the annual Bud Billiken Parade, are set to perform during the NBA All-Star Game halftime show at the United Center Feb. 16.
The team is performing at the invitation of Chicago native Chance the Rapper, drill team spokeswoman Stella Natufe said. Fellow native Common has also been announced as a musical headliner.
“Common will welcome fans to Chicago with a moving narrative about what basketball means to the city prior to introducing players from both teams before tipoff of the NBA All-Star Game,” according to an NBA statement.
Just what can audiences expect from the drill team?
“You can look forward to what you’re used to seeing at the Bud Billiken Parade, but with a little more flair,” Natufe said.
Natufe said she’s known for about a week about the Chance invitation but only let team members know Monday.
“They were overjoyed,” she said.
The full team includes about 175 members, ranging in age from 8 to 22, Natufe said. Between 55 and 60 members are expected to perform at the United Center.
“We generally go with our more advanced performers, our seasoned performers,” Natufe said.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the oldest. The youngest performer during the All-Star game is an 11-year-old boy, Natufe said.
Besides the Bud Billiken Parade, the drill team performed during President Barack Obama’s second inaugural parade as well as during the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago.